Eddie Stobart Logistics annual results make “difficult reading” as company records £238m loss

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Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) made a statutory loss of £238.9m last year after ratcheting up exceptional costs of £200.2m, including a £169.2m impairment charge.

Announcing its annual results for the year to 30 November 2019, chairman Adrian Collins said the report made “difficult reading” but insisted the company is putting “these issues behind us”.

The results reflect the impact of a turbulent year at the company which saw it come close to collapse after its shares were suspended following the discovery that its 2018 profits had been overstated by £2m. Chief executive Alex Laffey resigned shortly after the revelation.

In December shareholders voted in favour of a takeover bid by private equity firm DBAY Advisors.

The 2019 annual results also reveal that ESL’s revenues grew by 9.7% to £857.1m last year (2018 restated: £781.5m).

However the company said turnover would have been flat had it not been for the 2018 acquisition of pallet network TPN, which offset the impact of the company exiting from two “underperforming” contracts.

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In the same period new contract wins brought in £27.4m. However the bottom line was hit by exceptional costs within administrative expenses of £200.2m (2018 restated: £5.1m) including a £169.2m impairment charge which the company disclosed at the half year.

In a trading update, ESL said the takeover deal had provided £70m of additional liquidity, which put ESL “on a stable footing and providing a platform from which to develop” and resulted in the addition of new experienced leadership, in the form of executive chairman William Stobart.

Looking forward ESL said the management team has “implemented measures to reorganise and streamline the operations and increase utilisation in the property portfolio, which are expected to positively impact the full-year results to November 2020.”

Turning to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company said that while some volumes had been hit it was benefitting from its “traditional strong exposure” to fast-moving consumer and grocery goods, as well as e-commerce related activities where it said volume remains strong.

Chairman Adrian Collins said: “For obvious reasons much of this report deals with the past and makes for difficult reading but we are pleased to be putting these issues behind us.

“Since I have joined the board, I have been impressed with the calibre and dedication of the Eddie Stobart leadership team and look forward to the future with optimism.

“I would like to thank shareholders for their continued support as the company works towards becoming an investment company.”

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